Mountains, vineyards and forests all co-exist around the pleasant, relaxed and temperate town of Mendoza, which has a population of about 800,000. The whole area is geared to first getting people outside and then, to making the ensuing relaxation all the more enjoyable. This is a favourite destination for the more nature-minded Argentines, helped by the fact that increasingly the region’s wines are coming home with a number of international prizes.


Mendoza is one of Argentina’s oldest colonial towns and, despite losing most of its period pieces to earthquakes, it has lots of elegant, leafy charm. Its Plaza Independencia is remarkable for its sheer size and harmony whilst the Basilica San Francisco is much revered as it houses the Virgin of Cuyo, veteran of many an earthquake and miracle worker to many. Otherwise Mendoza has a host of museums, all of which are unfailingly provincial in feel, though 2 stand out: the Museo de San Martin, which is comprehensive, reflecting the area’s soft spot for the Liberator of the Southern Cone, and the Serpentarium, which is stuffed full of awful creepy crawlies!

For the more adventurous, follow the breathtaking Panamerican Highway which cuts its way through the Andes over to Chile, and visit along the way the 7m high statue of Christ the Redeemer and the Puente de los Incas, a manmade salt bridge which crosses the Rio de Mendoza at a height of 20m and dates back to pre-Colombian times. The star attraction, however, is Aconcagua which, at 6959m, is the Americas’ highest mountain. It’s easy to organise trekking expeditions up the mountain from Mendoza, though the moving Cementerio de los Andinos should serve as a warning to the foolhardy!

Indeed, it’s possible to get some fresh air without necessarily signing up for altitude sickness. A lot of the surrounding mountains are perfectly climbable, whilst various resorts in the region offer good snow and skiing. Otherwise, go white-water rafting down the Rio de Mendoza.


Mendoza is best known for its wine with lots of vineyards and private cellars welcoming in tourists for a tour and a dégustation. The best time to be around is in February and March for the Fiesta de la Vendimia, when the whole region is up in riot, celebrating the harvest and choosing its next beauty queen. In any case, whatever the time of year, it would be a shame to leave without a nice bottle of Malbec red...

Nightlife and Eating Out

Eating out in Mendoza is both great and easy on the wallet. Like in much of Argentina, the staple of most restaurants is beef, though of a quality which is to be found nowhere else in the world. Otherwise, there are lots of good Italian restaurants serving copious portions, and a few which offer indigenous inspired cuisine from the Northwest of Argentina.

Tourist Information

Tel: +54 (0)261


Mendoza’s airport is 12km out of town and has a relatively infrequent bus service to the centre of town. Flights leave to a number of domestic destinations, notably Buenos Aires.

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